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options ath9k nohwcrypt=1
to /etc/modprobe.d/ath9k.conf since (see: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1970955) I was getting max speeds of 10 KiB/s without that line added.
Frankly, I'm not sure whether it is due to my wireless adapter or some kind of Firefox plug-in causing my computer to freeze... but it is definitely related to Internet access since my computer is stable with the wireless adapter removed without Internet access.
Edit: Edit: Never mind. The syslog actually didn't record anything when the system froze.